Updated May 2023
Administrative assistants play a pivotal role in every office. They are multitasking rock stars who handle the clerical, organizational, and communication tasks that keep a business running smoothly.
So is an administrative assistant career a good choice for you? Does this role fit your needs and goals?
Before you can answer that, you need to weigh some key factors. These include things like job options, earning potential, and career outlook. You should also think about whether you have the personality and natural strengths this role requires.
At Herzing College, we've been training office administrators for decades. Based on our experience, these are the five points to consider before you make a decision.
1. WHAT ARE YOUR JOB OPTIONS AS AN ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT?
One advantage of an administrative assistant career is that you can get hired in almost any industry.
All types of organizations and companies need office staff to run smoothly. Administrative assistants work at:
☑️ Large and small businesses
☑️ Government agencies
☑️ Non-profit groups
Most positions are full time, but some offer part-time or flexible hours.
You could also pursue a role as a home-based virtual assistant.
And there's plenty of room for advancement in this field. With experience, you could move into positions like office manager, executive assistant, or customer service manager.
2. WHAT TRAITS DO YOU NEED FOR AN ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT CAREER?
Successful administrative assistants have certain characteristics that make them a good fit for the position.
To thrive in this role, you should be:
Administrative assistants handle a lot of different tasks every day.
You need to organize information, manage your time, and stay on top of messages, meetings, and deadlines. And you need to do all of this in a fast-paced office environment.
Multitasking should be second nature to you.
Unexpected challenges will always come up. Every day is different in a busy office.
If you're in the middle of proofreading a report but your boss suddenly needs you to clear his schedule for the afternoon, you need to quickly change tasks. And then you'll need to pick up where you left off with the report without wasting time backtracking.
Can you switch gears on a moment's notice? Are you adaptable?
As an administrative assistant, you are the communications hub of the business.
You're probably the first person guests see when they come through reception. And you're the one who responds when people call or email the office.
You need to be approachable, friendly, and polite with everyone, from customers and vendors to employees and executives.
Creating a good first impression and maintaining positive relationships are key parts of this role.
☑️ Diplomatic and discreet
Tact is the name of the game for administrative assistants.
You can't get snippy with a difficult client or get drawn into office gossip. And you definitely can't share any confidential information that comes across your desk.
No matter what else is going on, you must always act like a true professional. Maturity and reliability are very important in this role.
3. HOW LONG DOES ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT TRAINING TAKE?
Preparing for an administrative assistant career is a relatively quick process.
Several colleges across Canada offer administrative assistant training that can be completed in well under a year. For instance, Herzing's program takes just seven months.
4. HOW MUCH CAN YOU MAKE AS AN ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT?
According to the Government of Canada Job Bank, administrative assistants who are just starting out earn about $35,000.
The median salary is around $50,000.
The highest-paid assistants in Canada earn more than $70,000.
So your salary could potentially double as you gain experience and progress in your career.
5. HOW'S THE CAREER OUTLOOK FOR ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANTS?
If you pursue an administrative assistant career, how tough will it be to find a job?
The good news is that the Job Bank predicts steady demand for administrative assistants in most of the country over the next few years, with especially strong prospects in Manitoba, Nova Scotia, and the Yukon.
So there are definitely jobs out there - you just need the right training and skills.
EXPLORE ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT TRAINING AT HERZING
Ready to take the first step toward an administrative assistant career?
Check out the online Administrative Assistant course from Herzing College.
This program teaches all the skills needed to get hired as an administrative assistant, including office software, office and reception procedures, and communications. A four-week internship is included.
Our grads have been hired by organizations like the Bank of Montreal, Canada Goose Inc., and others.
Click below to get more program details and chat live with an admissions advisor. We're here to help!